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How to Choose the Right Domain Name

Choosing a website domain name is one of the first big decisions you make about your site.

And it’s also one of the most important!

After all, your website domain will be part of a site’s brand for the long haul. Google associates your content, links, and ranking history with your domain name. There aren’t many ways to change it later on that won’t reduce your online visibility.

That’s why it’s crucial to make a winning choice!

A lot has changed in the world of website domains over the last few years. In addition to familiar .com, .net, and .org, there are dozens of other TLDs – top-level domains—you can choose. This makes it possible to grab names that might cost thousands as a .com address.

But how can you choose the right website domain for a site that might last for decades?

Here’s what to keep in mind

1. Start With Your Business Name

Most companies should stick as close as possible to their business name if they can. This makes it easier to gain brand recognition, since people can find your site as soon as they hear about you.

There are a few notable exceptions:

Your business name is very long – the shorter your domain name, the easier for users
Your business name is taken (usually by “domain squatters” who charge a hefty fee)
Your name on paper doesn’t reflect your brand or the services you want to promote
There’s nothing saying your domain has to be your business name, though your formal DBA or corporation name should appear in the contact information and privacy policy. If your name is a mouthful to say or a handful to type, don’t be afraid to check out alternatives.

2. A Domain Name Should be Short, but Memorable

So, how short is short? As a rule of thumb, aim for 15 letters or less.

Balance brevity with the need to make your domain memorable. A great domain name clarifies what matters most about you, whether that’s your industry, your flagship product, or your values.

Resist the urge to go with made up words and hope they catch on in the future. That may work for Google, but for the average small or mid-sized firm, it won’t catch customers’ attention.

Start with .com, But Don’t Be Afraid to Explore

Research has shown no difference between .com domains and others when it comes to website performance or search engine rankings. While .com is more familiar, there’s no evidence .com sites have any advantage over the rest.

In fact, a novel TLD can be a fun branding strategy for the right business.

Consider these examples:

.world positions your website as a comprehensive resource in your field
.work is perfect for coaches of all kinds, especially in career development
.ninja is popular with hip, youthful brands focused on technology or Gen Z
If you find yourself choosing between a long, confusing .com and a friendlier name with another TLD, give the latter some thought, especially if you’d have to use dashes in your .com domain.

3. You Don’t Need Search Keywords in Your Domain

Years ago, it was common for marketers to make sites with targeted search keyword right in the domain name. A keyword is the specific word or phrase people type in when they’re searching for products, services, or information you can provide.

Long story short, this used to have a big impact on search results. Google has since downgraded it. It limits your brand and is a bad move for most companies.

For advice on picking a domain name with staying power, contact us. To see if your perfect domain is available and to purchase it, go HERE!

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Transportation Website Design Project

WHO:

Brookings Area Transit Authority (BATA) is a non-profit transportation service. It is available to anyone within the greater Brookings County Area. Youth, the general public, elderly and disabled passengers request this service through the website for a variety of transportation needs on a daily basis.

THE ASK:

BATA came to us looking for a new transportation website design with some unique functionality. A custom form solution that would keep track of release forms riders (and parents) need to fill out on the website before they can utilize BATA services. They were looking for an easy way for riders to update their transportation forms and to reduce the amount of times they needed go to the website to fill them out. An easy solution that allowed them to make website updates like text on their own was a priority.

THE SOLUTION:

We were able to create a very user friendly website solution for them, utilizing a professionally created form tool.

  • We created more functionality for them to track custom forms.
  • Allowed users to login and edit current forms.
  • Allowed users to reuse forms that were already filled out.
  • Redesigned the whole website with a better look.
  • Created a better user experience through easy navigation.

We gave BATA a new transportation website design that is a user-friendly website both on the front-end and the back-end. We used professional tools like Formidable Forms, Beaver Builder, It was a pleasure working with this team!

8 Reasons Why We Use WordPress to Design Our Websites

8 ReasonsWhy We Chose WordPress to Design Our Websites

So you need a website. You are probably weighing all your options on what platform to use—there are so many possibilities these days. You may tell your friends you are thinking about using WordPress and they may say, “Isn’t that a blogging site?” Actually, it’s so much more. WordPress, although it may have started as a blogging platform, has evolved into a content management system. In a recent survey, WordPress has been found to be used on almost 30% of all websites. Here are 8 reasons why we use WordPress to design all our client sites, and why they thank us for it!

  1. Flexibility: In my opinion, WordPress is the most flexible platform with over 52,000 plugins, an extensive number of themes available and its ability to integrate with most tools like PayPal, MailChimp and others. It’s easily, dare I say, the most versatile platform. Not only that, but you can still use HTML and CSS until your heart’s content.
  2. User-Friendly: Our clients are typically small businesses, so although they don’t have time/knowledge to create their own website, they usually want the ability to make small text or image edits or additions and add blogs on their own. After a quick 1 – 2 hour tutorial with them, they feel very comfortable with making their own edits. It’s possible to customize colors, design and even features with the right theme and you don’t need to be a developer! In fact, you don’t need to know how to code at all. All the settings you need to style your site are provided in a control panel within the WordPress dashboard and its interface is very simple to figure out. The best part, they never have to write code! Editing text in WordPress is as easy as using Word.
  3. To Code or Not to Code: In the world of website design, WordPress tops my list for ease of use while still having robust functionality. On the other hand, if you are a dabbler of code or an expert, you can customize the theme however you desire.
  4. Support Community: WordPress has a very well-maintained support forum which contains a massive community of active users and developers. If you search, chances are you will find an answer to your question (usually, several). And if you don’t it’s easy to add your inquiry to the mix and get some great feedback from the community. There are also a number of “unofficial” WordPress forums run by developers where you can post questions and find great solutions. There are also many resources out there for beginners. Here is a link to my favorite.
  5. Open Source: Did you know the WordPress platform is not only open source but free, as well? Open source means the original source code is publicly available, has the freedom to be modified, built upon and redistributed. So how do people make money with it? That’s where the hosting and domain come in, as well as purchasing a theme and possibly plugins (some themes and plugins are free to use) to get you started. However, these costs are minimal.
  6. Search Engine Friendly: WordPress is very friendly when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s written using standard compliance high-quality code and procedures semantic mark up, which is a fancy way of saying it’s like candy for search engines. For the most part, it has a fast loading speed, it’s easy to create and submit a sitemap, social media integration is easy…the list goes on. If you want to give your site a little boost, here is my favorite SEO Plugin!
  7. Responsive: A responsive website means the design will work across all devices whether it’s a smartphone, computer or tablet. WordPress allows you to build custom themes and many themes are responsive out of the box. Before purchasing a theme, make sure that it’s responsive.
  8. Safe and Secure: Let’s face it—the internet can be a scary and uncertain place. WordPress has regular updates that are focused on strongly protecting you from hackers looking for loopholes to get into the site. There are also several ways you can add security to your site, such as limiting logins, 2-factor authentication and security plugins (including firewalls).

Bonus Reason: The Queen B herself Beyonce uses WordPress… just sayin.

To see how other top businesses use WordPress, check out the WordPress Showcase site.

3 Reasons a Website is Important for Small Businesses

Being small business owners myself, I know how important it is to have a well designed, functioning website– and let’s face it–business owners suffer a never-ending to-do list every day. Your website is the last thing you should be worrying about. That’s our job.
 
Whether you want full control after it’s built or you are interested in ongoing support like our Website Care Package, we have options for you. 
 
There are many, many reasons a website is important for a small business. Here are 3 to get you started:
 
1. Window shopping happens on the web too.
Let’s be real for a minute. Gone are the days when people have to leave the comfort of their homes for shopping unless they make it a point to window shop. Your website is a peek inside your business. It’s a great way for customers to familiarize themselves with you, your business and your services, before engaging you. If you have a professional-looking website that shows you take your business and customers seriously they will make it a point to contact you. That’s another reason why it’s so important to have your street address, phone number, and email easily visible. Give them an easy and painless way to get in touch.
 
2. People will “web-stalk” you first. (It’s creepy we know but, true.)
First impressions are so important. People will look for your business on Google, Yelp and any social media apps to check out what other people are saying about you. Consumers make judgments of your quality and customer service based on a simple glance of your online presence. It’s so important to put your best foot forward with a professionally designed website. You have control over the message your website is sending them.
 
3. A bad website is worse than no website at all. Wait… what?!?
Yes! It’s true. If your website is a “bad” one which is misrepresenting your business, it can actually be worse for you since it is literally making your business look bad. You may be asking yourself “how do I know if my website is a bad one?” Well, if you can’t proudly promote your website or think to yourself “this truly represents the message I want to send to my customers”, then you need a new website! A bad website is worse than no website, but both are bad for business!
 
Check out some of the websites we have recently completed below and contact us to make your appointment to discuss your new website!
 
 
If you like what you are seeing and want to view more, check out our portfolio!
Brookings Area Transit Website Images
Brookings Area Transit Authority (BATA)
Cabana Banners
Cabana Banners
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